strategy

Providing adequate housing

Synonyms:
Providing adequate shelters
Guaranteeing necessary shelter
Providing subsidized housing
Constructing new inexpensive housing
Constructing adequate residential dwellings
Increasing amount of low-cost housing
Constructing adequate low-cost houses
Description:
Providing housing that meets minimum cultural and legal expectations for a society. This may be done through subsidizing construction or rent, providing housing loans at low rates, or developing low cost locally applicable designs.
Context:
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.

During the [International Year of Shelter for the Homeless] (IYSH-1987) and the following years outlining the [Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000], numerous efforts were made all over the world to formulate viable national shelter strategies. In spite of all these efforts, an estimated 1.5 billion people - probably up to 3000 million households - will still lack adequate shelter at the beginning of the millennium.

The [Global Shelter Strategy] states that adequacy is essentially a national concept. Adequate privacy, adequate space, adequate security, adequate lighting and ventilation, adequate location with regard to places of work and basic facilities can only be defined in the specific context of a country's cultural, economic, social and environmental conditions. While this sound reasonable, it places the burden of searching for a workable, [ie] measurable, definition of adequate shelter on governments and a country's housing policy. At the same time, the emphasis on national definitions largely precludes international comparisons for lack of comparable data. This fact only underlines the notion that the pursuit of adequate shelter for all is mainly a national development goal, albeit shared by all countries as a global concern.

The difficulty in defining national shelter adequacy in measurable terms is also largely responsible for the inconclusive results of measuring the 'housing backlog' or 'housing deficit' which a number of countries tried to undertake in the context of the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987). They found out that the extent of their deficit depended mainly on the housing standards they were willing to accept. Obviously, housing for all appears more attainable as a national goal if standards recognize the efforts of the informal sector and of self-help groups, and a country's housing policy actively supports such initiatives.

Article 31 of the European Social Charter (Revised) (Strasbourg 1996) provides: With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to housing, the Parties undertake to take measures designed: (1) to promote access to housing of an adequate standard; (2) to prevent and reduce homelessness with a view to its gradual elimination; and (3) to make the price of housing accessible to those without adequate resources.

Implementation:
The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements suggests that the following lessons, learned from best practices, can be used to provide more sustainable housing and human settlements: (1) ensure effective and efficient community participation in the housing process, from policy formulation to home management; (2) harmonize building and planning legislation to take account of the urban poor, who do not have control over, and access to, critical resources as land, materials and finance; (3) mobilize the informal sector of the construction industry though appropriate technical and financial capacity-building programmes to increase its delivery, productivity and quality of affordable housing; (4) develop housing finance mechanism and institution through community-based organizations; (5) eliminate land grabbing in cities and towns, especially where the urban poor live; (6) implement housing policies and strategies in time and with adequate support of local authorities.
Claim:
Adequate and affordable housing continues to be a goal and a dream for many urban and rural poor families in most developing countries. Why has this oldest and basis human goal not been achieved?
Counter Claim:
There have been several attempts to provide better dwellings for the Gypsies in Slovakia. However, these were often met with very little interest. In many cases, Gypsies openly refused to move into new blocks of flats or houses. In other cases, new flats were totally damaged, burned by campfires in the rooms, with broken doors and windows, metal parts sold to recycling companies etc. Reasons are still widely discussed. Some claim flats or any closed spaces are too strange for the Gypsies. Others speak about vital importance of spatial organisation analogous to the one of the present shacks, or that it is unacceptable to live on higher than ground floors for the Gypsies. What contributed was probably feeling that it was something they got without any effort, so they did not have the need to take care of it. Yet another reason is probably the deep-rooted pertaining fear of coming closer to the gadjo majority and receiving something from it.
Subjects:
Housing, tenants
Finance
Purchasing, supplying
Certification
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies